‘On the Ground’ with Eric Brown: Email Marketing Can Help Fill Vacancy
There is so much low-hanging fruit for most apartment operators that even a few small changes can have a huge impact on occupancy. An easy place to start is email capture.
As we head into the New Year, what are you doing differently with your apartment marketing? There is so much low-hanging fruit for most apartment operators that even a few small changes can have a huge impact on occupancy.
An easy place to start is email capture. It has been reported that, on average, property management companies have only 15 percent of their residents’ email addresses, which is really a bad statistic. There isn’t any reason that you shouldn’t have 85 percent to 100 percent of your residents’ email addresses. If you can figure out how to collect the residents’ rent check, certainly you can figure out how to get their emails.
And what about prospects? Are you collecting those email addresses? Prospects can be your best leasing agents in a down market. Although you may not have leased an apartment to them, you may in the future, and they may well know a friend or family member looking for a new place to live.
So think about this: The average 300-unit apartment community gets between 2,000 to 2,500 pieces of traffic per year. Let’s say you capture 75 percent of those email addresses, which is 1,500 per year. Over a five-year period, you now have a 7,500-name email list. Let’s also assume you have been doing a quality monthly newsletter about hip and cool things going on in your city or neighborhood. You have in fact built a community of interest that is significantly larger than your 300-unit apartment community. The community at large has as much potential value as your resident base.
We all have those months where occupancy dips or move-outs increase. And what happens next? We increase some type of marketing, either with advertising or, at an extreme, free rent. If you have done a good job building and fostering your digital footprint, and have created a following, you can easily add a clip into your monthly newsletter that you will pay a referral fee for any rental this month.
If you have 7,500 folks on your email list and you have an open rate of 30 percent, then 2,250 folks just looked at your referral offer. That is a heck of a lot more effective than door hangers, and because it is digital, it is much easier for folks to share the offer with friends and family. And you have just reached seven times your resident base.
These numbers are not theoretical, either. They are based on the results we achieve in our own portfolio. Start today. And let us know if you have any questions along the way.